Traverse Area Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Traverse Area Trip Guide

Farm-to-table restaurants and fabulous resorts make Traverse City (and nearby towns) delicious fun.
Harbor Springs
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Simonsen's Bakery and Cafe
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What to do

Brick Wheels In addition to rental bicycles, snowshoes and skis, you can shop for new gear, get repairs, or ask for info on recreational areas and sporting events. In Traverse City. (231) 947-4274;

Clinch Park You’ll find public beaches all along the shore, but this 1,500-foot beach and marina is just a couple blocks from downtown Traverse City. (800) 872-8377; 

Dennos Museum Center On the Northwestern Michigan College campus in Traverse City, the center’s exhibits include an extensive collection of Inuit art. (231) 995-1055; 

Little Traverse Wheelway A 26-mile paved bicycle and jogging trail traces the shore of Little Traverse Bay for fantastic views. (231) 348-8280;

Manitou Sail aboard a two-masted schooner on West Grand Traverse Bay. (800) 678-0383;

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore These 400-foot-tall sand dunes are gorgeous. The 35-mile lakeshore includes North and South Manitou islands, accessible by ferry from Leland (26 miles northwest of Traverse City). (231) 326-5134; 

Where to eat

Aerie Restaurant and Lounge Enjoy superb service and a wall of windows looking out on Grand Traverse Bay while sampling dishes such as sea bass with Mediterranean black truffle risotto. In the Grand Traverse Resort. (231) 534-6000; 

Amical The menu at this Traverse City bistro changes seasonally, but savory tomato soup served under a puff pastry shell is always available. (231) 941-8888;

Chandler’s Restaurant This cozy little Up North restaurant is good for exquisite grilled four-cheese sandwiches, sushi and everything in between. (231) 347-2981;

The Cooks’ House Chefs work with Michigan farmers, artisans and producers to procure ingredients for their menus, and the quality shows. (231) 946-8700;

The Cove When you’re in Leland, try the Cove’s secret-recipe seafood chowder (made with shrimp and clams) and a surprisingly delicious Chubby Mary—a bloody mary garnished with a smoked chub. (231) 256-9834;

Grand Traverse Pie Company This Traverse City institution recently opened a shop downtown. The home-style fruit pies are among the area’s best. (231) 929-7841;

Legs Inn Authentic Polish dishes and quixotic decor draw travelers here, north of Harbor Springs in Cross Village. Open seasonally. (231) 526-2281;

Martha’s Leelanau Table Everything on the menu at this Suttons Bay (15 miles north of Traverse City) cafe is made from scratch. Try the Leelanau raclette, which you can order as a fondue. (231) 271-2344;

Moomers Situated on a dairy farm, Moomers makes more than 100 varieties of premium ice cream every season. (231) 941-4122;

Simonsen's Bakery and Cafe This cute Charlevoix find channels Paris with outdoor seating and elegant pastries. (231) 237-9480

Trattoria Stella Dishes are from-scratch, seasonal and celebrate local ingredients. One example: green bean salad with a lemon-garlic dressing and soft Gorgonzola. (231) 929-8989;

Underground Cheesecake Company The most fun item on the menu is cheesecake on a stick, but purists will enjoy the traditional offerings as well. In Traverse City. (231) 929-4418;

Where to stay

Boyne Mountain This sprawling ski resort offers a host of lodging and recreation options, including zip lines, plus a massive indoor water park and huge spa. (800) 462-6963;

Chateau Chantal We love the combined luxurious B&B and top-notch winery and vineyard. North of Traverse City, on the Old Mission Peninsula. (800) 969-4009;

Crystal Mountain Active families come here to ski, hike, golf and play at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The Crystal Spa’s design and service stun guests. Spa-inspired meals and hearty dishes satify all tastes at Thistle Pub. (800) 968-7686; 

The Homestead Resort The laid-back retreat next to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is perfect for quiet weekends. Foodies find their way to Nonna’s, a farm-to-table Italian restaurant. In Glen Arbor, 27 miles northwest of Traverse City. (231) 334-5000;

Tamarack Lodge Guests staying in these 29 luxury condos along East Grand Traverse Bay participate in beach bonfires, movie nights and wine tastings. (877) 938-9744;

For information: Charlevoix Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 367-8557;

Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (231) 271-9895;

Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau (800) 845-2828;

Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 872-8377; 

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